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Khan pledges drugs commission if re-elected for 'fresh ideas'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will establish a new commission to examine the use of drugs in the capital if he is re-elected and says it's time for 'fresh ideas'.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will establish a new commission to examine the use of drugs in the capital if he is re-elected.

Mr Khan has pledged to start the group of independent experts for “fresh ideas” if he wins the May 6 election.

These experts from across criminal justice, community relations and public health, will examine evidence on the harms of drugs, support services and prevention, the effectiveness of current laws as well as tackling the root causes of crime.

They would report to the Mayor with policy recommendations including for City Hall, the police, health services and central government.

A release from the Mayor’s office said: “The illegal drugs trade in the UK is estimated to cost society £19 billion per year. 41,900 people across England and Wales were charged with drugs-related offences last year.”    

Mr Khan said the illegal drugs trade in the UK is damaging Londoners' health, ravaging communities, driving an increase in organised and violent crime and criminalising too many young people.

The commission would build on research assessing how effective cannabis enforcement is at tackling violence in the capital as part of the Mayor's action plan to improve trust and confidence in Met Police.   

Mr Khan said: “It’s time for fresh ideas about how to reduce the harms drugs and drug-related crimes cause to individuals, families and communities.

“The illegal drugs trade causes huge damage to our society – driving serious and violent crime, damaging people’s health and criminalising too many young people.

“That’s why, if I’m re-elected, I will establish a new London Drugs Commission comprised of independent experts to examine the latest evidence from around the world.

“The commission will make recommendations focusing on the most effective laws to tackle crime, protect Londoners’ health and reduce the huge damage that illegal drugs, including cannabis, cause to our communities and society.”

Conservative candidate for Mayor Shaun Bailey said in response to the pledge: "Cannabis is a gateway drug. Legalising it won’t fix our crime epidemic or save lives. In fact, it will compound so many of the problems we already face.

"I’ve seen first-hand the misery that drugs cause. I was a youth worker for twenty years, and I know that no one ever turned their lives around while still on drugs.

He went on to say: "More personally, my brother suffered from addiction issues. In the end those issues took his life. Legalising cannabis would have done nothing for him.

"The Mayor of London is a big role with big responsibilities. But legalising cannabis is nowhere in the remit. Sadiq Khan should focus on his actual job - not on policies he has no control over."

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